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Writing For Children

cartoon drawing of an old man reading to his grandson - illustrating an article about writing for children

Image by Megan Archer

I write for children and adults. I enjoy both very much, but I must admit there’s something special about the way you can let your imagination fly when you are writing for children.

I have written a great many stories for children and they have been broadcast on RTE 1 here in Ireland, as well as published in various magazines etc. so I feel I can share some of what I have learned with you.

STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS

When I first started writing I found myself writing serious pieces. I say ‘found myself’ because I tended to sit down and write using the stream of consciousness method – which is literally writing whatever comes into your head and following your train of thought wherever it goes.

This is great at first and I would certainly urge you to do this in the beginning as it is a great way to beginning practicing the art and craft of writing.

CHOOSE A THEME WHEN WRITING FOR  CHILDREN

When I was using this method I certainly didn’t give too much too much conscious thought to planning, making dramatic decisions, or choosing a theme.

These are important but at the beginning it is best to just practice your writing and build a good writing routine. 

cartoon of a girl eating a cookie illustrating an article about writing for childrenWhen you are ready you can begin to focus on your themes. Themes can help readers of all ages connect to a story on a personal level.

Most themes are universal and both children and adults are drawn to specific themes at different times of their lives. You can read more about choosing a theme here.

In my early years of writing I wrote a lot and I wrote regularly. Sometimes I would fit in my writing between work and family commitments which meant starting at 11pm and writing until 3am, or until my head dropped on to the pillow.

FLOWING THOUGHTS

I had so little free time that I began to want to make better use of it. I realized that I was wasting a lot of my precious writing hours following random thoughts.

My thoughts often didn’t end up as a coherent story as I was too carried away following tangents.

PLAN YOUR STORY

So I began to think about planning my stories a bit more.  At first I would still begin each new piece without a plan and then, if I felt it was a story I could develop I would begin to make notes and decisions.

I learned that is just as important to plan your stories whether you are writing for adults or children. If you feel you are ready to begin planning your stories you will find some easy ways to it on this page here.

COMMON MISTAKES WHEN WRITING FOR CHILDREN

During my writing for children journey I made some mistakes. I have also seen other writers make mistakes as well.

Some mistakes are necessary for the learning process but there are also others that could have been avoided.

To help you avoid some of these mistakes I have put together a list of five very important rules here.

Sometimes it is hard to begin when faced with a blank page. If you find it difficult to get started you should try some creative writing exercises.

I can promise if you do exercises regularly your page won’t be blank for very long.

You read a little more about my own experience of writing for children as well as see some of my own children’s stories here.

There are more tips and information about how to write for children here.

I wish you the very best of luck with your writing

Grace.

P.S. All the information on this site is provided free for you.  All I ask is that if this has helped you – leave a comment, share, or like this page. If you have any questions I will do my best to help.

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